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Updating basement: T&G Plank Walls and slight moisture

Updating basement: T&G Plank Walls and slight moisture


Old 04-04-10, 07:50 PM
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Updating basement: T&G Plank Walls and slight moisture

Hey everyone.

My wife and I have been in our house for a couple of years and are ready to tackle the dated, but semi-finished basement. We don't want to dip too deep into our savings but want to do some upgrades and get things looking a bit more modern.

The foundation is block wall and is fairly dry except in extreme weather when we've seen one corner of the room (about a 8x8 area) where the rug gets damp. We've been here 3+ years and have only seen it get like that maybe 2 or 3 times. Once during the stormageddon of 2010 here in the northeast (I'm in NJ).

The side of the house that has this moisture issue has downspouts that lead to runners that are about 6-8' from the house. The grade is sloped well so that water should run further from the house (though I have seen water get stuck in the beds around the house). I plan on installing 2 drywells for those 2 downspouts and run them further away from the house.. hopefully sometime this spring. Hopefully that will help prevent that moisture issue. (But who knows)

Right now, the basement is sort of finished...but kind of dated. Most of the walls in the finished area are 3/4" thick x 9" wide tongue and groove boards (slightly glossy wood colored). The boards are nailed to furring strips over the block. One wall is further off the blocks at about 3" (I think built out for old electric heaters that were built into that wall but no longer in use.) Two of the walls have chair rail 4 feet up and the remaining upper few feet is a thin panel board painted white and kind of ugly.

The floor has a cheap berber rug covering what I can only assume is the dreaded 9x9 asbestos tiles (lovely).

The basement is comfortable, not terribly cold and overall dry and doesnt smell horrible or anything. We just primarily want to lose the wood paneling and maybe add a baseboard for heat. Its not goign to be primary living space but I could see the kids playing down there soon and I wouldnt mind a big TV on the wall to "escape the madness!"

SO... we are trying to decide how to tackle this. Here are out options I guess...

- Do we tear all the boards out which would allow us to possibly assess the seepage, maybe throw on some drylock (not a permanant solution, I know), and also add some foam board. then put up greenboard (assuming thats a better option for a basement)?

- Do we put greenboard OVER the wood boards? Which would obviously be cheaper and easier and faster? We lose out on solving the moisture problem but again.. money is a factor. The walls seem pretty flat and I think it could be doable (except we'd prob run into some issues near the door and windows..but nothign that cant be worked out)

- Do we just sand, prime and paint the T&G boards and leave it as is and see if the basement can possibly get worse (since we've only been in there for a few years). We could easily brighten the place up with a paint job but painting all those grooves has to be a huge job.

So just looking for some honest feedback. Excavating outside is not gonna happen. Stripping the basement to the furring strips is possible (I'm capable of doing it myself) but I'd genuinely like to avoid that if possible. I guess I could pull out some boards in the moisture area and see whats going on but again.. trying to keep this simple.

I love this message board as you'd see from my post history. I've got nothing but the best advice/guidance from people. Thanks again for the help!

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Old 04-05-10, 03:45 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: VA
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Id paint it! Getting in the groves should be easy with a good brush.
Old 04-06-10, 10:49 AM
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Unless you have a way to fix the water problem then I think painting it sounds like the best plan. It would be a real bummer to put a bunch of money into it and end up getting flooded again. I would imagine any dry wall in the area with the water would end up being ruined.

Painting the grooves will take some time, but if you go the dry wall route you will have to put up the drywall, tape, mud, sand, prime and paint!

I'd paint the basement and try and fix the drainage from the outside as your already planning to. If you get through the next great storm without any flooding then maybe consider upgrading the basement.
Old 04-06-10, 10:56 AM
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Thanks guys.. I really appreciate the feedback. I think thats the smartest route and I was making my life more difficult. I think I may pull a few boards down and see if I can see where this is coming in.. maybe throw up some hydraulic cement and drylock and see if it helps... and then throw the boards back up and paint and go from there... thanks for your opinions!

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